The Real Thing – God’s View of Marriage
As the clerk rang up the last item on the counter, the young woman reached into her purse and pulled out a stack of brightly colored papers. Each one was covered with intricate designs and symbols. The woman smiled and handed them to the clerk.
“What is this?” the clerk asked. “Why, it’s money,” the young woman replied. “Not in this country, it’s not,” the clerk countered. “You’re going to have to give me cash, a credit card, or a check to pay for these groceries.” The young woman became indignant. It was obvious she was getting upset. “I’m sorry you don’t realize it, but that is money.”
“This is not money,” the clerk was also becoming agitated. “This money is worth a great deal,” the young woman shot back. “I had it designed by an artist and printed on excellent quality paper. You just don’t recognize what it is worth to me.”
“No doubt you have invested a good deal in these pieces of paper and they do mean a lot to you, but they are not money. You cannot make them money by just deciding they are.”
When God created a man and a woman and joined them in marriage, He set the pattern for covenant relationship, marriage between husband and wife.
And so it is with same sex marriage. Same sex couples no doubt care for each other very much. They no doubt value their relationship and have invested a good deal into it. It may be very beautiful in their eyes, but it is not marriage. And calling it marriage does not make it marriage.
What is Marriage?
Is it simply two people deciding that they love each other and want to be together for the rest of their lives? Is it just two people who want to make public their commitment to each other? Is it a political statement? Is it rebellion against the law? What did God design marriage to be? In Genesis 1, we see God’s pattern established as He created life. Again and again in this chapter we read that He created life with “seed within itself” that “yields fruit according to its kind.” Everything that God created was designed to reproduce after its own kind. After creating all other life, He created the first human beings. “So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…” (Genesis 1:27-18).
From the first moments of creation until today, everything has continued to be fruitful and multiply according to God’s plan – wheat produces wheat, dogs produce dogs, roses produce roses. The ability to trust in this consistent reproduction has been the basis for farming, livestock breeding, and horticulture for centuries. God created all things and set in motion the pattern for each.
Marriage is Covenant Relationship.
So when God created a man and a woman and joined them in marriage, He set the pattern for covenant relationship, marriage between husband and wife. This is not a simple combination of two people, but a miraculous transformation in which two become one. If God had alternate plans for marriage, He would have set them in motion at that time as well. But He set one pattern and one pattern only. Marriage between a man and a woman is the only pattern God established.
No matter how much the young woman at the grocery store believed her colored paper was money, it was not. She could firmly believe it was money and try to convince others it was as well, but that would not change its intrinsic identity. A relationship between two people of the same sex cannot be marriage. No matter how much they believe it is and no matter how much they work to convince others as well, the essential elements of covenant marriage are simply not there. Calling it marriage does not change the fact that it is not.
Our Response to “Same-Sex” Marriage.
So what should our response be to the continuing move by same sex couples to call their relationship marriage? Stand firm on what marriage is according to God’s word. Human words cannot make something what it is not. Just like the clerk in the store facing counterfeit money, stand firm on what marriage is and what it is not.
Recognize that people seeking to call their same sex relationship marriage, genuinely care for each other. That is not the issue and do not allow it to become the issue. They simply cannot have a relationship called marriage. Reach out in love, not angry protest. When Jesus saw the tax collector in the tree, He called him down so that He might share a meal with him. When He encountered a demoniac, He set him free. When a woman in adultery was brought to Him, He confronted her sin but befriended her from those who judged her. Jesus’ harsh words were for self-righteous religious leaders, never lost sinners.
Be an Example.
It is difficult to raise the standard of marriage God’s way if our marriages are not an example of the relationship between Jesus and the Church. Many same sex couples have chided us for protesting that their relationships do not reflect God’s plan for marriage by pointing out that ours do not either.
Divorce is not God’s plan and in the beginning, when He set the pattern for marriage, it was not so (Matthew 19:8). When we walk in unconditional love and forgiveness in our homes, the world will truly say, “See how they love one another.” When we do not, we tell the world that marriage can be defined as they wish because there is no Godly standard. One final thought – although they certainly do not realize it, in demanding that their relationships be called marriage, same-sex couples are entering into a new spiritual battleground. What they are saying is, “We desire God’s plan for our lives!” May our prayers be that the fullness of God’s plan be revealed to them!